Birds are not considered parasites and in most cases, people welcome them. But once they become freeloaders and consume food, damage crops and contaminate accommodation and outbuildings. Since ancient times people have invented ways of scaring away the birds such as setting up scarecrows and hanging noisy objects etc. The killing of most species is illegal and merely inhumane. That is why we explain how to keep birds away. Upon reading it, you will find out which methods of scaring birds are approved by the scientists, which products are absolutely ineffective and why a versatile deterrent does not exist. In the end, we will present the top 17 bird deterrents for various situations, weather conditions and areas.
Table of Contents:
3 Best Bird Control Products
|Bird-X Plastic Spikes||Scarecrow Fake Owl Decoy||Repellent Scare Rods|
The easiest way to deter birds from house cornices and fences.
Keeps birds off your porch or plant bed.
Good protection for windows and trees on a sunny and windy day.
More effective bird control products you'll find below in TOP-17 Best Bird Deterrents.
In order to make your bird control strategy effective, you should create a plan of action. These are the steps you should include in this plan:
- Prevention is the first and most important step. Store grain in barns and other enclosed spaces protected from birds. Block with metal mesh and plastic boards all entry points. Birds will not gather in the area where there is no food in abundance.
- Place spikes and netting as a barrier along the garden and crops. However, this measure will mostly work on large birds while the small ones have any chance of overcoming such barriers.
- Frighten birds with the help of scarecrows, predator decoys, and aluminum foil tapes. These are simple and widespread measures but inefficient unless the weather is windy.
- Disturb the nests using a long stick. This will frighten the birds away and make them view the area as unsafe. Destroying eggs will make you more convincing.
- Electronic scare techniques require extra spending but are more effective as they can work day and night, regardless of weather conditions. Motion-activated sprinklers have built-in sensors detecting anything moving and scare the birds and animals out by sprinkling water towards them. Ultrasonic devices affect birds’ hearing but their effectiveness is to be proved yet.
- Repel birds with chemicals which either cause irritation when consumed or affect their nervous system so that they feel aversion to food. The active ingredients of such repellents include methyl anthranilate, anthraquinone, methiocarb and the like.
- Trap birds. Lethal traps are permitted only for certain species which are not protected by the law. In all other cases, live trap birds and release the captives far from your property.
To make things right, read a detailed guide on how to keep birds away based on scientists’ suggestions. We have analyzed which solutions can really frighten birds and prepared a review of TOP 17 best deterrents which are commercially available.
|Method or Product||When, Where and How Best Used||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Spikes||On house eaves and city fences||Don't let the pests land||They violate general aesthetics and are useless against smaller species|
|Nets||To protect fruit trees, planting, ventilation etc.||Are effective against large and medium birds||May be useless against smaller species|
|Noise reflective devices: tape, rods, discs||Are hung wherever birds are undesired||Reflected light and noise scare the birds away|| |
Birds get used to them after some time
The best results are achieved only when it is windy and sunny
|Sound repellers||Are installed in places that require protection|| |
They imitate the birds' natural threat, i.e. predatory cries
Large coverage area
Can be set to deter various species
|Must be used along with other control methods|
|Ultrasound repellers||Are installed outside, on balconies and terraces||Can deter various pests|
|Motion-activated water sprinklers||Are installed on lawn||Physical deterring and additional plant watering||Requires water supply and recharging|
|Scarecrows||Are installed on the lot or porch||Keep the birds away with their appearance and noise||Birds get used to them after some time|
|Chemical gels and sprays||Windowsills, lawns and fruit trees are treated with them||A reflex makes the birds avoid treated areas||Some compounds are toxic and require proper application according to the instructions|
|Destroying the nests||The nests are destroyed with a hooked stick||The birds don't produce offspring||The effect is temporary as a new nest will soon be made|
Each species is distinguished by its behavior and activity peculiarities. That is why combinations of elimination methods vary depending on both building type and species. It is also essential to be able to switch between several treatments quickly as birds tend to get used with most of them with time.
As Holly K. Ober from the University of Florida explains, the trick to effective use of deterrents is to (1) begin using deterrents as soon as possible after the problem starts (or even before, if the problem can be anticipated) so animals do not develop a habit of using the resource, (2) switch hazing tactics regularly so animals do not become used to a deterrent that is meant to scare them, and (3) use tactics that appeal to more than one sensory modality so animals are bothered in several ways and remain cautious and confused.
Prevention: It’s Easier to Prevent a Problem Rather than to Deal with It
Follow a set of simple rules when housekeeping or maintaining retail space to avoid any possible interest from birds. It is recommended to use bird-protected storage in grain barns and special feeders and drinkers on livestock farms. Also remember to keep the place clean.
Hang plastic strips to fully cover the entrance to retail spaces and allow people carrying heavy bags or trolleys to move around. Make sure you block ventilation and other possible entrances to the room, isolate truss structures and repair windows.
If exclusion is not possible or economically feasible, try reducing the attractiveness of the roosting (places where birds sit) and nesting sites. These non-lethal methods are safe for people, livestock, and non-target wildlife, but they are often time-consuming to install and expensive, as the experts from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences explain.
To counter birds’ arrival or nesting, use physical barriers such as spikes on ledges, nets, protecting horticultural crops from eating, changing the angle of slope of the eaves and windowsills. Thorns and nets will help fight pigeons and larger birds, but small species will be able to settle between spikes or climb into the net cells. In addition, plants and other attractive places or objects can be treated with a spray or a gel with an unpleasant odor that will irritate birds’ mucous membranes. Upon having such a negative experience, a flock or an individual will flee the place.
To scare away all types of birds, the scientists suggest using deterring methods either in interchange or combination. The simplest option is to use dummies and scarecrows resembling predatory birds or even eyes. The scientists also approve of using reflective devices: tapes, rods and discs. This is one of the most common methods but it still has a few catches: pests get used to them quickly. They are also quite pointless in calm and gloomy weather when reflective devices don’t rock or make noise.
Electronic repellents are also available. Some of them are acoustic devices and impact hearing. Others are called motion activated water sprinklers and they sprinkle a trespasser with a jet of water. While the aquatic method does not cause any controversy, the ultrasonic impact is not so clear. Although these repellers receive some positive feedback, a negative one prevails. The scientists also doubt their standalone effectiveness. The experts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for instance, claim that “By themselves, acoustic devices are ineffective or effective only for a short time at dispersing birds. To be useful, acoustic devices must be combined with other control techniques in an integrated management program. The most effective use of acoustic signals is when they are reinforced with activities that produce death or a painful experience to some members of the population.”
Among other sonic avian repellent devices, the scientists distinguish programmable sonic deterrents. They have pre-recorded voices of predatory birds that keep away various birds from treated areas. Such devices can even be set to deter specific species, such as pigeons, sparrows and others.
Chemical compounds can be used not only to deter a bird but also to confuse it. For this, substances containing tannins that prevent fast digestion, viscous and sticky compounds that complicate food intake or masking substances that make fruits or grains imperceptible are used. Michael L. Avery from University of Nebraska classifies the compounds in two categories according to the impact they have on birds’ bodies: Primary repellents are painful or irritating upon contact and the bird responds reflexively without needing to acquire an avoidance response.
Extensive research into the nature and characteristics of dozens of primary repellents lead Clark to the conclusion that chemesthesis (pain or irritation) is responsible for avoidance responses produced by these compounds. Many of these compounds have ecological significance in interactions between birds and their natural food items, and one primary repellent compound, methyl anthranilate, is registered as an avian feeding deterrent. Many primary repellents are toxic, but because the compounds are aversive, but because birds do not ingest enough to cause them harm. Secondary repellents are not aversive immediately but produce illness or discomfort sometime after ingestion.
The use of a primary or secondary repellent is determined by a bird’s lifestyle. If it has settled nearby, a secondary repellent is more preferable. A primary repellent will do little against nomadic species.
One such deterrent, methyl anthranilate (MA), is used in food production and is safe for humans. It irritates the nervous system causing a bird to lose its appetite. The substance is used to protect berry crops and control the behavior of geese. To protect seeds and turf, Anthraquinone, a repellent of secondary action, which causes digestive discomfort, is sometimes used. An individual develops a subsequent dislike for any food resembling a processed one.
Methiocarb, which was initially devised for use against insects is yet another secondary repellent. The compound is not lethal for birds and only causes vomiting and temporary paralysis. Nevertheless, the substance is toxic and requires to be taken in proper dosage so as not to kill the birds. Fungicides, suppressing birds’ activity, are also worth mentioning among non-core compounds.
Destroying the Nest or How to Get Rid Of Birds’ Nesting
It is allowed to control breeding of some not endangered species, primarily sparrows, pigeons and starlings. Margaret C. Brittingham, Professor of Wildlife Resources of Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, recommends crafting a long hooked stick to destroy nests regularly. A more laborious and delicate way is to reach the nest and pierce the eggs with a pin. The birds will brood them anyway and won’t start building a new nest and laying new eggs.
Setting the Traps
Bird traps are designed in such a way that they will not harm the victims that could be later released.
Few species are not protected regionally, federally or internationally. They are regular pigeons, house sparrows and starlings. They can be hunted and shot anywhere where shooting is generally permitted. It is important to note that when using lethal methods, it is crucial to monitor their impact on non-targeted and protected species and limit such possible impact to a minimum.
As promised, we have covered all types of deterrents mentioned above. Pick one that meets your needs and location so that the question of how to scare away birds never arises again.
Installing spikes is the easiest way to deter a bird from house cornices and fences. Decent polycarbonate and steel spikes by Bird-X are available. Both products are ten feet long. Not only the materials they’re made of, differ but also their functions.
Plastic spikes are branched and are fit for scaring away not only pigeons and crows but also smaller species, such as sparrows. They can be attached to the surface with glue that comes in a package.
Plastic Polycarbonate Spikes: Check the current price
Steel spikes don’t have branches and thus can only be used to counter large species, such as pigeons. They have a flexible base that allows attaching the spikes to uneven surfaces. Both products have earned a high customer rating.
Stainless Steel pikes: Check the current price
Birds are afraid of predators, so imitating a carnivorous bird with setting an appropriate scarecrow or playing back the cry of a predator is quite popular. If you’re hesitating in how to keep birds off your porch or plant bed, the first thing you should try is setting up such a fake predator.
A life-sized owl statue by Bird Blinder, Scarecrow Fake Owl Decoy. You can fill it with and or place it on top of a rod or a pole for stability. It is supposed to scare off both birds and rodents and judging by the customer reviews, it fulfills the task successfully.
Fake Owl: Check the current price
Use the Bird B Gone Hawk Decoy as an alternative. It acts in the same way, but customer reviews are more controversial than those of Fake Owl. One unsatisfied users has attached a photo of this hawk statue in a bird house. It is obvious that birds aren’t really afraid of this scarecrow.
Fake Hawk: Check the current price
Bird-X Bird-Proof Gel Repellent
The manufacturer calls this gel liquid spikes as it should be applied on cornices and windowsills. It also recommends using it on any protrusions, signs, railings, roofs and other places where pests fly. Any surfaces treated with this gel become sticky and nasty to touch. This property is supposed to deter many species including pigeons, swallows, ducks, geese, seagulls, sparrows, starlings, woodpeckers, crows & blackbirds, grackles etc.
Gel’s properties are well preserved outside and it is completely transparent. It is non-toxic, causes no harm to buildings and pets and can be rinsed off if necessary. A pack of three tubes will be enough to make a 30-feet long strip.
Bird-X gel (3-pack): Check the current price
As mentioned above, not all electronic repellers are equally effective against birds. Water sprinklers will work given that their action radius is sufficient. The scientists recommend using acoustic repellers along with other deterrents. There are many popular electronic bird repellers on which we will describe to you. It is up to you to decide which to buy.
Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion Activated Sprinkler
Unlike all other devices covered in this review, this repels animals with water. If anyone finds themselves within 40 feet from the detector with 120º angle of view, they will be attacked with a powerful water jet. Make sure the detector is facing the right direction in advance for better control. The device is battery-powered. In general, the users are satisfied with its performance: “The act of water being shot is so startling that you don't even have to actually hit the animal to scare it away.” The users confirm that if you have Orbit, there will be no more bird poop in the pool. Read over 1000 customer reviews to learn more helpful information.
Orbit sprinkler: Check the current price
Bird B Gone Chase Super Sonic Deterrent
This sound deterrent has pre-recorded cries of wild predatory birds. Bird B Gone has a general scaring off mode and a range of special ones designated for various species. The manufacturer assures that it can be set to repel 22 species: pigeons, crows, starlings, seagulls, woodpeckers etc. The repeller is powered through an outlet and its speaker is powerful enough to cover an acre. Additional speakers (sold separately) will expand its coverage to five acres. Day and night modes are available.
This repeller has received mixed feedback. Some have finally found salvation in this device: “I spent a fortune on other solutions and this is the only one that really worked.” Others believe that it does not really restrain birds. Sound issues are also observed. The users claim that the unit is either too loud or so quiet that you can barely hear it. Read all customer reviews to find out whether it is worth buying.
Sonic Deterrent: Check the current price
Bird-X Balcony Gard Ultrasonic Repeller
According to the manufacturer, this ultrasonic repeller covers up to 900 square feet and can be used on the balcony, terrace and porch. It is safe for kids and pets, but is it effective? Buyers doubt this as the product has received quite a few negative reviews. Pigeons that are not scared off by this working device are mentioned separately. Another disadvantage is that the squeaks can be heard by children. Still, a third of users are satisfied with the results.
Bird-X: Check the current price
Hoont Powerful Solar Battery Powered Ultrasonic Outdoor Pest and Animal Repeller
This repellent is suitable for spacious rooms. It has three ultrasonic frequency settings and an additional repelling option, namely, a flashing LED light. The sensor detects motion 30 feet away. This all-weather device can be kept outdoors. The manufacturers note that it can be used not only against birds, but also to control pest mammals, such as chipmunks. The product is generally highly rated by the customers. However, bird-related feedback is not very positive.
Hoont: Check the current price
In this case, the task of scaring has been simplified to a maximum. Most animals, including birds, perceive visual information by association. That is why only typical features, such as an image of eye can be used to scare them off. This is the case of a Scare Eye Balloon Bird Repellent. This balloon keeps the birds away with the help of its bright colors as well. Its swaying in the wind will cause discomfort and desire to fly away.
Three inflatable balloons with an eye ornament surrounding them are supplied. A balloon can either be hung or thrown in the pool water to protect you against waterfowl. More than half of the customers were satisfied with this product. Those who weren’t so content complain of a short period of effectiveness as pigeons, sparrows and others get used to it and are no longer scared off. However, it is a common feature of all scarecrows. The scientists say nothing of these trendy ways of keeping the birds away, but you should give them a chance as they are very affordable.
Scare Eye Balloon Bird Repellent: Check the current price
This is one the most popular and cut-rate ways of keeping birds away. Light reflection devices have a dual action: they blind their victims with reflected light and additionally scare them off with noise. You won’t find better protection for windows and trees on a sunny and windy day.
Bird Blinder Repellent Scare Rods is a set of five silvery rods made of shiny plastic. In general, the reviews are positive. The users are unanimous that even if the birds do not disappear completely, their population is reduced drastically. However, several customers claim that pigeons ignore these rods.
Scare Rods (5-pack): Check the current price
Bird Repellent Disks are made of stainless steel. They come in a set of eight shiny double disks that not only blind with their light but also make much more noise than plastic. The manufacturer claims that these disks will be effective against woodpeckers, pigeons, sparrows, geese, ducks and rooks.
Scare Discs (8-pack): Check the current price
A light-reflective holographic tape looks aggressive in birds’ eyes and, according to the manufacturer, is able to repel any pests. A 150 feet long roll and will last long enough. The tape is two-sided and can be attached anywhere. The product is simple to use, effective and affordable and thus popular with users.
Scare Tape: Check the current price
Dalen BN4 Bird-X Net protects fruit and berry planting from flocks without being dangerous for the birds themselves. Its size is 15 x 45 feet. Judging by the reviews, the nest is effective in most cases but is more suitable for protection from large species due to cell sizes. Smaller birds will be able to stick their head into these cells in search of berries.
Bird-X Net: Check the current price
Shot-Gun Repels-All Animal Repellent Ready To Use
This repellent impacts not only touch, but also taste and smell. Its active ingredients are putrescent whole egg solids, cloves and garlic oil. Once in a pest’s mouth, these active substances cause light irritation of mucous membranes. As a result, an animal would like to flee such a potentially dangerous place. The spray is aimed at deterring birds and mammals.
Buyers have left inconsistent feedback including many negative reviews noting that the animals tend to return within a few days. Those who try to keep birds away claim that this repellent can become even attractive for them. Try using it to see whether it is true and to rate its effectiveness.
Shot-Gun Repellent: Check the current price
Liquid Fence 1466X Goose Repellent Spray
This methyl anthranilate-based ready-to-spray concentrate. This repelling action substance is approved by scientists as a means of geese control to protect berries. It causes the birds to lose appetite by affecting their nervous system and is safe for humans. The product is also effective not only against geese but other waterfowls and terrestrial large species, such as ducks and turkeys.
The spray is economical as a quart of it will cover 4000 square feet. The manufacturer recommends treating large areas with it. It is safe for use even on fruit and berry trees and shrubs.
Liquid Fence (1-quart): Check the current price
Bird-X Bird Stop Liquid Deterrent
A gallon of this yet-another methyl anthranilate-based spray. The product is aimed at a variety of waterfowl and other birds which damage large fruit planting, lawns or vegetable harvests. Depending on recommendations for use in various situations (check the manual), this liquid is to be dissolved in various amounts of water.
So far, the product is not in demand and its rating is not very high. Certain users describe their positive experience. A guy was able to save his blueberries from flock attacks: “I applied this spray 3 separate times to my plants. Because of rain, I needed to reapply it. But, after those applications, I have not had any more attacks on my blueberries.” Still, he notes that the price is high and adds that this is justified as long as it is effective. In any case, a concentrate is always more cost-saving than ready-to-use products.
Bird-X: Check the current price
Bird Deterrents Comparative Chart
Bird-X Plastic Polycarbonate Spikes Kit
|Spikes||Install on a windowsill or cornice|
Bird-X Stainless Steel Spikes Kit
Scarecrow Fake Owl Decoy
|Scarecrow||Install near the object to be protected|
Bird B Gone MMRTH1 Hawk Decoy
Scare Eye Balloon Repellent
|Scare Eye||Hang where necessary or throw in a pool|
Bird Blinder Repellent Wind Twisting Scare Rods
|Light reflector||Hang or stretch over the object to be protected|
Bird Repellent Disks
Dalen BN4 Bird-X Net
|Net||As a barrier|
Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion Activated Sprinkler
|Motion-activated water sprinkler||Connect to a source of water and install on your lot across the object to be protected|
Bird B Gone Super Sonic Deterrent
|Sonic repeller||Install where birds' activity is undesired|
Bird-X Balcony Gard
Hoont Powerful Solar Battery Ultrasonic Outdoor Repeller
Bird-X Bird-Proof Gel Repellent
|Chemical repellents||Leave a strip of these liquid spikes on the cornice|
Bonide 238 1-Quart Shot-Gun Repels-All
|Spray over lawn or fruit trees|
Liquid Fence 1466X Goose Repellent Spray
Bird-X Liquid Deterrent
Scaring In Urban and Rural Areas
Scaring in urban and rural areas varies according to specific safety rules, scale of the issue and the property to be protected. As a rule, the methods are also determined by the birds’ lifestyle, variety and accessibility of its fodder base.
In large cities most often you will encounter sparrows, pigeons and crows, and seagulls in coastal zones. Crows, seagulls and pigeons pick up trash and scatter it. Sparrows cause much less harm, but they can penetrate warehouses and shops and damage groceries. All of the mentioned species litter on windowsills, under cornice, trees and various buildings. They carry diseases in third-world countries.
Limited-effect methods, such as applying a gel or using a motion-activated water sprinkler of a small radius or spikes, are convenient for urban areas.
Outside the cities, the range of control methods expands. Fruit trees and large fields can be sprayed with repellents. More powerful motion-activated water sprinklers and scarecrows are installed near houses, metal or plastic reflective tapes are hung.
How to Keep Birds Away With 5 Best Handmade Methods
You can also scare the birds off on your own without investing a fortune in expensive treatments. Below, we list the five most cut-rate ways of getting rid of these unwanted guests. All you need to do is check your den or garage for fabric and necessary supplies.
Close All the Entrances to Your House
If you would like to keep birds away from your house, cover all the indoor ventilation holes with a grid, hang thick fabric or net in apertures and seal the attic entrance.
Make a Scarecrow
Since ancient times, people have installed scarecrows resembling not only predatory birds but also hand-made people statues on their lots. Wooden beams, buckers and extra pieces of fabric can be used for this purpose. Unfortunately, such scarecrows won’t serve you long. Birds living nearby will soon get used to it and will no longer be kept away by it.
Make Your Own Rattle
To enhance the deterring effect, hang some thundering metal objects on the scarecrow or make a weather vane that will jangle in the wind.
Hang a Light Reflector
Light-reflecting tape and similar products can become another supplement. Reflected light will blind any flyers and make deterring, intimidating rustling sounds. Many craftsmen use regular foil for this purpose.
Watch Out for the Birds Nesting
Nests are fun to watch over unless the birds can cause damage to your household. In this case, you’d better make sure they don’t produce offspring nearby. To destroy a nest, attach a hook to a long stick.